We had heard from soneone who was in the training facility on the day that the Jets worked out Garrard — before they even signed him — and apparently the onlooker wasn’t that impressed with what they saw from Garrard’s game many months back. If Garrard’s knee can’t hold up through the month of May, then the Jets can’t plan on him being able to make it through a single game as a starter, let alone a month or two. Signing Garrard was all upside for the front office, but the move never had teeth. The Jets will now be forced to ask whether they want to continue on with just McElroy, Sanchez, Simms and Smith, or to bring in another veteran to compete for the job. If they don’t, will this now make Sanchez into the “troubled veteran” role that Garrard was supposed to play out?
I took a look at the ESPN Free Agent Tracker and you’re going to laugh at who’s on top of the free agent grading right now … of course it’s Tim Tebow.
The available players get increasingly dicey: Vince Young, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich and Tyler Thigpen are among next group, with Trent Edwards, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart and Jordan Palmer as well.
If the Jets are serious about bringing in a veteran to compete, they will either sign from what’s available or trade for a player for a low-round draft pick. The Jets seem to want to sort out the QB competition sooner than later, so if adding another veteran must be part of the process, then they can’t afford to wait for another team to cut a potential veteran in the middle of camp or right on the cusp of the season with starting experience.
After nearly 2 months on the free agency market, specialist Josh Cribbs has a new team … Cribbs has signed a 1-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.
The Jets had Cribbs in for a visit last week, but general manager John Idzik told reporters yesterday that they were not completely satisfied with his physical condition coming off a torn meniscus in 2012. Hopefully this is a sign that Jets are applying more stringent physical requirements to their potential signings than some other teams. That would give comfort in light of the number of players they’ve signed recently with injury issues in their recent past.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com
Adding Cribbs would have made for a nice addition to special teams and to solidify the back-end of the receiving corps while simultaneously consolidating some other roster spot concerns, but it’s good to see that the Jets didn’t make a desperation play. The team has added a promising group of UDFA receivers and not signing Cribbs will keep the door open for at least one of those players.
After the moves earlier this morning, attention now turns to who John Idzik might bring in to work with him in the front office. One candidate has emerged already:
Jets are expected to hire former Cardinals GM Rod Graves to join their front office staff— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 15, 2013
The two worked together from 2001 to 2004 in Arizona. Here’s a Brian Costello story from shortly after Idzik was hired by the Jets where Graves talks about him in glowing terms:
“He’s probably one of the brightest guys I’ve ever worked with in terms of dealing with rosters and players and the finance behind player salaries and so forth,” Graves said. “He’s very well organized. I think he does a great job at future projections and roster management for making decisions today that will allow for flexibility down the road.He’s very good at that.”
Another name being speculated on…
Currently trying to nail down that both Rod Graves and Tim Ruskell will be hired by the Jets.— (@ProFootballTalk) May 15, 2013
Ruskell is another guy with a wealth of experience and a connection to Idzik, who he worked with both in Tampa and Seattle, where he was the President of Football Operations until 2009.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com
Ruskell and Graves are both very experienced in their fields and will likely jump at the chance to join the Jets. If I had to guess who ends up with what role, I’d imagine that Graves takes the more operational role while Ruskell takes the more evaluative one. Like most, Ruskell has a up and down record with the draft — you can see his work in Seattle here — including some total home runs and a few flameouts like Aaron Curry. After that Ruskell worked for Jerry Angelo in Chicago, and had a decent draft group a few years ago.
This week, John Idzik made it clear that the Jets would look to field roster spots this season through undrafted rookie free agents. Former Virginia Tech WR Marcus Davis went undrafted, and was cut less than a month after signing with the Giants. Even so, in putting in a waiver claim the Jets got a physically gifted player to add to the competition at one of the team’s depth-challenged units … we’ll take a look at Davis in this post.
BIOGRAPHY: Davis was a high school quarterback and receiver and he played both spots during his freshman year in Blacksburg. Rather than sit behind Tyrod Taylor, Davis then moved from quarterback to receiver duiring that season and a right shoulder injury during preseason practices forced Davis to redshirt 2008. Davis then only managed only five catches for 125 yards in 2009, including an 80-yard touchdown against Boston College. Davis’ role grew in 2010, starting two games and catching 19 passes for 239 yards and two TDs. In 2011, Davis then started eight games while missing significant time in two games with a sprained right foot. Davis ended third on the team in receiving (30-510, 5 TD) that year behind Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. As a senior, Davis led the Hokies with 51 catches for 953 yards and five scores.
STRENGTHS: Big frame with the perfect length and body mass. Davis has deceptively quick feet and burst to evade press at the line, but with active hands to shed the jam as well as the size to untangle. Gets up to speed quickly and his workouts show good flexibility to change direction on sharp routes. Davis uses his hands well to shed the jam and also to pluck the ball out of the air. Has good vision to locate the ball and use his body to position himself and shield defenders from the catch. Good at “high-pointing” the ball with excellent size and vertical.
WEAKNESSES: In short, Davis needs to be more aggressive against defenders and polished in his technique. Davis has a tendency to round off his routes too frequently. Davis also needs to use his size to better fight for position and to get physical with defenders for the ball in the air. There were some communication issues with his quarterback in college and he also had some concentration lapses (turning upfield before securing the ball). While he has the skill to pluck the ball out of the air, he often traps the ball against his chest. Davis has also been noted for not using his size to be as aggressive in the run-blocking game.
OVERVIEW: Davis was called by NYJetsDraft.com one of the “most underrated receiving prospects” in the country and some analysts had him as a middle round prospect early in the draft process. The Virginia Tech offense was stagnant and inconsistent due to poor quarterback play in 2012 and most of his career, Davis played behind Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin; it was only as a senior that Davis had a chance to stand out. Davis then led Tech with 51 catches for 953 receiving yards and five TDs as a senior in 2012.
Davis was expected to be a Day Three prospect, but it wasn’t until after the draft ended that he had his chance. Davis made the decision to sign with the Giants.
It is concernning that a prospect like Davis would go undrafted. A player in the ACC who had a productive senior season and has all the measurables to fit in the NFL wouldn’t normally fall as he did. There are some theories about why he went undrafted, and his hometown newspaper the Virginian-Pilot offered some of them.
Davis [...] still doesn’t know all the reasons that led to him not being selected, although there were numerous theories — from the receivers’ lackluster blocking last year to his agent’s relationship with NFL teams to concerns about a shoulder injury from five years ago.
CONCLUSION: The Jets are short at wide receiver and therefore need to be creative about how they fill out their roster. There’s no downside to picking up a player like Davis. The Jets might quickly analyze Davis and toss him as the Giants did, but I highly doubt it. 6’4″ 232 pound receivers with 4.5 40 yard dash speed who can bench 225 19 times don’t grow on trees, and the Jets have the right receivers coach can work with this sort of player. Sanjay Lal worked hard to focus DHB in Oakland and used that experience to help him in equipping Stephen Hill (a player CBS Sports compared Davis to) and so that model could work again with another freakishly gifted player who needs serious technique refinement. At his size, the argument might be made that the Jets could consider bulking him up and moving him to H-Back / Tight End … it’s an inventive thought, but my initial reaction is that a player who doesn’t already have the aggression to play receiver at his current size would get eaten alive by defensive ends and linebackers.
Davis is going to have to work hard to improve his technique, but he appears to have all the physical tools with which to work. Under Tannenbaum, this is a player that the Jets would likely try and give every benefit of the doubt and who they would do their best to stow on the roster somehow, to give him the time they need to develop. We’ll have to see how Idzik handles the matter, but if in fact there are injury concerns, then the Jets might see 2013 as a sort of redshirt season for Davis.
We’d heard rumblings yesterday that Cohen, a former candidate for the GM job, would not be back, but the Nissim departure was slightly more unexpected. However, with Idzik’s reputation as an experienced contract negotiator (one of Nissim’s major roles as Mike Tannenbaum’s right hand man), that perhaps makes Nissim’s duties surplus to requirements. Idzik also brings with him a slightly different contract philosophy with more of a focus on upfront bonuses rather than rolling guarantees and guaranteed salaries.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com
Once a new GM comes in after the season, they generally wait until after the draft to start making any major changes and that is exactly what is happening here. Mike Tannenbaum might have been the one who was ultimately responsible for football ops, but Ari and Scott were the two guys who helped come up with and execute his plans — they were his right-hand men. It’s hard to blame Idzik for wanting to bring in people whom he knows and has worked with, or at the very least he himself has picked.
Two-tight-end attacks are growing in popularity. The Jets might break out the no tight end attack. Jeff Cumberland is the starter; he’s a serviceable role player who would be No. 3 on a lot of depth charts. Behind Cumberland is a former Rugby player (Hayden Smith), Konrad Reuland and someone actually named Mike Shanahan.
What are your thoughts on this team’s tight end group? Are they being underestimated? Do they need to add another body now or as a cutdown waiver claim? Let us know in the comments.